Where I stand on the Issues
Where I stand on Taxes: In the last 21 years, Riverhead Taxpayers have experienced a rise in their taxes. My 2022 budget has been completed and I am recommending no tax increase and a decrease. Recently, we received a Moody's Bond rating. Riverhead Town has not seen a Moody's upgrade 2003. Riverhead was the Town in Suffolk County to receive an upgrade.
Where I stand on Economic Development: We should move Riverhead forward with a balance and ensuring we preserve our land, protect our farmers and vineyards, and ensure any development occurs with a balance, while protecting our bucolic environment. In October, the two buildings opposite the Suffolk Theater will be demolished, opening up our beautiful Main Street to the riverfront, and paving the way for our new Town Square. We have received 1.8 million dollars in funding and expect more fund to continue revitalizing our Main St.
Where I stand on our Water District: In past administrations, the Suffolk County Water Authority has attempted to take over our Water District. I will not permit a takeover. In doing so, we will not be able to control the costs, control the usage, and control development. We have low water costs and we should not jeopardize our water being diverted to other towns. We have the purest clean water and plenty of it. Any future development costs from this point forward will be absorbed by the developer and not burden our taxpayers. I have personally petition our Congressman and two Senators, who have bills in Washington to provide funding for the 60 homes in Manorville who have contaminated water. In addition, when I took office, two years ago, I immediately created a resolution create a Map and Plan. The Town absorbed the cost, in a proactive method to have the engineering plans needed for immediate hookup to our Water District.
Where I stand on our Police: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Suffolk County Police Academy closed for one and a half years. Police were not trained throughout the State of NY. In addition, the National trend of defund the police caused a decline in police attrition. Recently, police training has commenced at the Suffolk County Police Academy. We currently have 7 police officers in training, and additional 5 more will commence training in November. I will continue to enhance our police force. As a side note, during the COVID-19 pandemic, while crime grew exponentially across some Suffolk County Towns, Riverhead experienced an all time low, due to our planning and the work of our great police department. I do NOT believe in defunding our police.
Where I stand on Code Enforcement and Overcrowded Housing: I have overhauled our Code Enforcement unit and we will be pursuing evictions, once the President's and Governor's non-eviction mandates are lifted in January.
On the Homeless: When our churches closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked with the County to place 33 or our homeless in shelters, where they received the care, food and medicine they needed. I will continue outreach to ensure our homeless get the services they need.
On Our Restaurants: I created outside dining legislation to ensure our restaurants were able to increase their sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2021, I created further legislation to make this effort permanent. This effort was as a life-line to our struggling restaurants.
On Our Seniors: I will continue to advocate for our seniors. During the pandemic, I advocated to the Governor's office and went to Albany to to secure COVID-19 vaccines to our most vulnerable population. We administered 1,708 vaccines at our senior center. We created the Senior Safe program which delivered food, supplies, medicine, and essentials to our seniors at their doors. I created a Senior Hotline in my office to assist our seniors with questions and services that are available to them. I will continue to advocate for expanded services for our seniors.